>Michigan Center Schools will be watching its students and faculty like never before by the end of February.
The district will have more than 50 security cameras operating throughout the district, and swipe-card access will regulate entry into the junior and senior high school buildings.
Partnering with the Jackson County Intermediate School District on a contract with Secure Alarm, the district is spending up to $80,000 out of its technology fund to “limit access, not usage” of its facilities, said interim Superintendent Scott Koziol.
“Our facilities are open to the public through the right protocols and paperwork to make sure the district covers (itself) in case of any type of liability that comes up,” he said.
Greg Pscodna, athletic director and project manager, said it’s a culture change that will take some getting used to for longtime community members, but it’s the right move.
“(Sunday) night I got a text message at 7:35 p.m. and there were 25-30 people up here using our facilities in the gym, with no employee of the schools present,” he said. “I’d like to know how they’re getting in.”
Six doors will allow access via the swipe cards and the rest will be locked at all times, Pscodna said. Staff members will have different access restrictions on their cards based on their needs, and it is possible school board members will be given cards as well.
The web design class at the high school is composing a swipe-card layout that will be printed and sent to the ISD for coding.
Koziol said an individual’s card access can quickly be terminated electronically in the case of safety concerns or disciplinary measures, but he and his staff are still learning the intricacies of the new system.
“Like Greg (Pscodna) shared, it’s almost going to be like a drill-down effect,” he said. “We’re going to have to determine groups of teachers and then (figure out) access and the doors and the time of day that they can have access because we can get that specific.”
He also said the district has to decide who will have permission to manage the cameras, noting it is a sensitive issue that will require plenty of training.
The schools will use 30 exterior cameras and 26 interior cameras to monitor its campuses.
“We absolutely can (now market) that we’re able to lock down a building and know who is in and out and the cameras will be in all the buildings, and we’ll have access to all of those,” Koziol said.
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on Jan. 11, 2011